How To Take Time Off As an Online Service Provider
“Just leave your laptop at home,” he casually suggested.
GASP! What? No. How could I? Does he have any idea who he’s talking to?
Like most online service providers, my laptop isn’t just a work tool–it’s my third arm, another limb, my literal life line. Since I started my own business, I have never left my laptop’s sight. That’s why I started working for myself, so that I could work from anywhere in the world.
I lugged that little laptop with me everywhere I went. Proudly, at that. I worked from the medinas of Morocco, the jungles of Bali and the sweat lodges of Mexico. That was the dream after all.
But even the dream life needs a vacation.
I realized this as I was packing for yet another free-from-the-9-to-5-life trip. These trips had become just that–trips. Not actual vacations where I do that thing people do when they’re not working. You know, that thing. What’s it called? Relaxing?
I was trying to figure out how I was going to fit my laptop baby in my minimalist backpack when my partner wildly suggested I leave it at home.
I know. It shocked me, too.
I shrugged off the suggestion as just another one of his crazy antics. But as my trip neared, I started to question–why am I having such a reaction to this suggestion? Why am I so attached to my laptop? And really, what am I so afraid of?
I was ultimately afraid of not being easily available. I work closely with my clients, and the guilt of not being there when they need me weighed so heavily, it didn’t allow me to–what do they call it again–oh yea, relax.
But what good does a freaked out, anxious, worried online service provider do for her clients? Not much good I could tell you from experience.
The more I pondered, the better it felt leaving my laptop at home. I deserved a proper vacation, not just another trip.
And so, I told my clients I was taking a week off (they said “cool, have fun”), prepped, prepped, and prepped some more, and the day my vacation finally arrived, I tucked my sweet little laptop baby in a cozy corner of my room, said my goodbyes, and temporarily parted ways.
That was one of the scariest, most freeing moments of my entrepreneurial career.
But a necessary one if I wanted to continue building a sustainable business that provides exceptional service. If I’m not rested, happy and vibrant, neither is my work.
And so I spent a lovely, stress-free week climbing giant rocks, not worried about the wifi, and reading quantum physics books poolside.
But ultimately, I spent a week learning some of the most valuable lessons an online service provider can learn.
Lessons From My Laptop-less Week
- I have incredibly supportive clients that were actually happy I took a week off.
- No small animals were harmed when I was away. Will you look at that? The world didn’t collapse because I didn’t turn on my laptop. Go figure.
- My clients respected that I was taking time off and didn’t ask me to do things while I was away. Clients that respect your time off? Ugh. I love them even more.
- It’s ok to ask for time off. And it’s ok to be nervous to ask for that time off. What’s not ok is not doing what’s best for you out of guilt or fear. You’re just asking for a week off, not their first born. Relax. Go on vacation.
If you want to follow along with my vacations and journey, want to learn some more business tips, or see some cute dog videos, let’s be internet friends!